Many individuals are increasingly moving towards following a gluten free diet. It may be because of various reasons - to tackle celiac disease, gluten sensitive enteropathy or because gluten can sometimes lead to weight gain. Research on gluten free products brings us to the increasing use of ancient grains. Most ancient grains are known to be gluten free and high in fibre and protein. Amaranth seeds, quinoa and black rice are three such ancient grains that have often times been referred to as ‘Superfoods’.
Quinoa - Chenopodium quinoa Willd. Or simply quinoa has been cultivated for the last 5000-7000 years in the Andean region of bolivia and Peru. It is known to be a treasure trove of nutrients as its high in protein, fibre and phytochemicals. It has most of the essential amino acids which are highly bioavailable. Fibre content makes sure that the carbohydrate in quinoa is mostly complex thus helping in increasing metabolism and also making it a low glycemic index food which is ideal for diabetics. It also has high Protein to Carbohydrate ratio compared to other grains. All these nutrients combined has a highly positive effect on cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and metabolic health in humans.
Black Rice- Commonly known as the forbidden rice, this variety of rice is known to be cultivated in China. It is extremely high in anthocyanins due to which it is black or deep purple in colour. Anthocyanins are known to oxidize free radicals, thus improving heart health and brain functioning. Due to the high fibre content in helps in decreasing the risk of obesity and lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. It is commonly cultivated in the northeastern part of India and in parts of Tamil Nadu.
Amaranth - Amaranth is a pseudocereal and has been cultivated for nearly 8000 years. It is extremely high is most essential minerals than most vegetables. Its truly remarkable protein content is comparable to that of milk and is highly bioavailable and easily digestible. High fibre along with antioxidants and minerals plays an important role in cancer prevention and improving lipid profiles. This in turn has a positive effect on most chronic lifestyle diseases.
Ancient grains are known to have all the necessary nutrients required for prevention of all major lifestyle disorders such as diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, hypo/hyperthyroidism, PCOS which usually lead to/ cause obesity. They are seldom used due to lack of knowledge and awareness regarding easily available/locally grown whole grains which have a whole lot of health benefits as compared to the regular cereal choices,i.e, rice and wheat.